Engine debate continues

The debate about manufacturers having to supply engines to other teams is ongoing in Monaco this week. The FIA agreed to scrap the ban on traction control in the spring after a unanimous vote by teams to keep it. The proviso by Formula One's ...

The debate about manufacturers having to supply engines to other teams is ongoing in Monaco this week. The FIA agreed to scrap the ban on traction control in the spring after a unanimous vote by teams to keep it. The proviso by Formula One's governing body was that manufacturers would agree to additional engine supply.

Mercedes has decided it can supply engines from next year at a cost of around $10million, while Ferrari and FordCosworth already have deals with others. But Renault CEO Patrick Faure is hanging back from the agreement, saying it was not feasible until at least 2005 and Renault would have to charge more than $10million.

"I think that having made our calculations we are maybe more expensive than the other ones probably, but for ten million we are losing money," he said earlier this week "In our calculations, to not lose money we should be around fifteen million, maybe slightly less, but very slightly. At ten we are losing money."

Faure said he didn't think there would be a problem with Renault not agreeing to supply engines in 2004 because one other manufacturer already has -- presumably he meant Mercedes. Jaguar CEO Tony Purnell was in accord with Faure, saying he wasn't in a position to do anything that was not economical.

Toyota boss Ove Andersson also thought it unlikely that Toyota would be in a position to supply engines from next year: "We have said in all the discussion that, from 2005, if someone would like to use our engine we will try to be in a position to give an engine on a commercial basis," he said.

"But not next year. That is not possible. We have not calculated on it but it is probably not possible to do it for 10 million dollars. We are looking at it, I can't say. But we would like to support the FIA and Formula One to bring ourselves into the position where we can sell our engines to another team."

FIA president Max Mosley took a slightly dim view of their reluctance: "I would be very surprised if the manufacturers did not stick to their initial undertakings on this," he told the British press. "But I don't want to comment further until I have talked to them in detail."

Mosley is no fan of electronic devices and would gladly see traction control gone, but made the engine deal compromise to help independent teams survive. "If they are not prepared to supply these engines, then the FIA will have to consider its position," he added.

The FIA's stipulation was that engines should be available to smaller teams at a "fully affordable" price. As Purnell commented, it's a rather vague criteria -- expect more of the never-ending debates between the parties concerned.

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Series Formula 1
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes